|Organisation:||Workers Party Youth|
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This ‘Leaders’ Handbook’ for Workers Party Youth dates from 1987. In a full 34 pages it covers a range of issues from ‘Where to Start’, ‘Running a Youth-Group’, ‘Financing a Youth-Group’, ‘Running a Campaign’, ‘Publicity’, ‘Speaking in Public’ and ‘Useful Addresses’ for both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The Introduction outlines the purpose of the pamphlet, noting that:
…it is to give youth officers, leaders of youth-groups and youth members in general, some ideas and practical information on setting up and running a youth-group. The task of building a progressive youth movement, involving working class youth, is one which is vital to the future our Party, our class and socialism in Ireland. We long ago recognised that young people have their own interests, needs and level of commitment, and that therefore we need a youth movement to cater for them.
The ideology of Capitalism, of the ruling class is the dominant one in our society. Its values and ideas are spread throughout the educational system, and a myriad of other agencies and organisations legitimise this position in society.
It is not surprising therefore that most young people form working class areas leave school with no real understanding of the world around them. They have not got the conceptual tools to even start asking he right questions about the world, never mind come up with the right answers.
Hopefully it is clear form these brief comments that our movement should be primarily educational, with agitation taking second place. We must seek to develop a range of activities and a style of work that will build young working class people’s confidence in themselves , get them to participate in organising things, give them the tools to assess and analyse their society and world.
It outlines the structures and orientation of such approaches:
The best term to describe the sort of youth-groups we should aim for is ‘political youth clubs’. A type of youth organisation that, unlike the traditional youth club, take the development of young people that one logical step further, into politics, into gaining control over their lives. Youth groups that deal not just with the concerns fo the individual but also the collective, and see the solution to the problems young people face in terms of collective action.
The relationship between the youth movement and the Party is a very important one. The youth movement, while it must lead its own existence, is ultimately under the political direction of the Party.